Parish, city ‘talk trash’

Published 4:37 am Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Members of the Bogalusa City Council and Washington Parish Council came together Monday evening to literally “talk trash.”

The three city council members of the Bogalusa Capital Improvement Committee and three parish council members of the Washington Parish Solid Waste Committee met at the courthouse in Franklinton to listen to issues concerning the Washington Parish Landfill on Choctaw Road. Because the landfill is a joint venture between the city of Bogalusa and Washington Parish, the approval of both government entities is required for any major decisions concerning the landfill.

Troy Barber, the solid waste manager for the landfill, told the six government officials that the site would soon need the construction of a new 6-acre cell. A cell is a specially prepared portion of a landfill that is used for the disposal of solid waste.

Barber explained that drainage has affected the most recent 6-acre cell, which was constructed approximately three years ago. He said that the best way to correct the issues would be to construct a completely new cell adjacent to the most recent cell.

“If we built that (new) cell this summer, we will not have to spend money on cell construction for about 11 years,” he said.

Barber said that if the new cell is not built, the height of the trash in the most recently built cell will grow too high and will cause a problem. He said that by building a new cell now, it would increase the size of the combined area’s footprint, and allow the height of the trash to eventually grow at the same rate across both cells.

Barber estimated that the cost to construct a new cell would be $1.5 million, and it would be shared by the parish and city governments — the parish would pay for 58.1 percent, and the city would pay for 41.9 percent.

Barber said that it would be ideal to start construction in July, because it takes several months and it is best to avoid going into the winter months where it is rainier.

Also, parish finance director Donna Graham suggested that the landfill should increase the cost of its commercial tipping fee.

Currently, the fee is $30 per ton. It was last increased in 2014, from $25. Graham suggested increasing it to $35 per ton, and adding a stipulation that it would increase every year after according to the CPI (consumer price index). Typically, the CPI increase is 5 percent or less, so she recommended that if the CPI rises by more than 5 percent then any tipping fee increase should come back before the councils for a separate vote.

Graham said that the increase would still leave the Choctaw Road Landfill tipping fee comparable to surrounding area landfills. She said that Tangipahoa Parish charges $35.48 a ton, Central Landfill in McNeill, Miss., charges $36 per ton, and St. Tammany charges a “transfer fee” of $55 a ton because that parish does not have its own landfill.

In addition, there would be a minimum fee of $20 for any load of 1,000 pounds or less, Graham said.

Both issues will now be debated and likely brought to a vote in future meetings of the full Washington Parish Council and Bogalusa City Council.

The committee members present at Monday’s joint meeting were Bogalusa City Council members Penny Douglas, Oneita Graham (chair) and Mark Irvine, and Washington Parish Council members David Anthony, Levi Lewis and Perry Talley (chair).